Happy Mother's Day to all the Y Moms!

Each year on the second Sunday in May we set aside time to honour our Mothers (and Grandmas!) and show them a little extra love. We buy cards and flowers and take them out for brunch or make them breakfast in bed, all to say, “Thanks Mom for making the world go round!”

Moms are an important part of our families and our Y Community. So Mother’s Day is a big deal to us here at YGV. For our newsletter, we wanted to get a really accurate picture of just how important Moms are—so we talked to some experts. Here’s what the kids from YMCA Kids Club and YMCA Child Care had to say about their Moms:

"My favourite thing about my mommy is her dark hair!" - K. age five, Woodwards YMCA Child Care

"She signed me up for soccer, and she put me in the YMCA and I love the YMCA" - Ashton, age seven, YMCA Kids Club (unprompted answer, we promise!) 

"My mom is beautiful! Especially in the morning!" - Caeden, YMCA Kids Club

"My mom is special because she is my mother and birthed me." - Cole, YMCA Kids Club

"The thing I love the most about my mom is: that she is the only mom I have and she gives me band aids."  - Anon. YMCA Kids Club

"My mom is special because she provides pretty good hugs." - Bryn, age five, YMCA Kids Club

"I love my mommy because she plays with me and takes me to the park!" -  S. age five, Woodwards YMCA Child Care 

"The thing I like most about my mom is she lets me have two cats." - Elaina, age six, YMCA Kids Club

"My Mom is special because she is my best friend." - Z, age five, Woodwards YMCA Child Care

Thank you so much Y Moms for all you do! Happy Mother's Day!

Five simple ways to manage stress and calm your mind

As we observed Mental Health Week last week, it was a great reminder of the importance of taking of not only our physical health, but also our mental health. 

We have compiled five simple tips to help you calm your mind and manage stress to make sure it doesn’t get in the way of doing the things you love!

Practice mindfulness

Have you ever felt like your mind is running a mile a minute? Mindfulness is about slowing down and paying attention to one thing at a time in the present moment, without judgment. Try slowing down your thoughts by paying attention to the five senses (taste, sight, touch, smell, and hearing), in even the small activities, like doing the dishes. With greater awareness of thoughts, surroundings and feelings, you may be able to experience more satisfaction instead of feeling trapped by thoughts and worries. There are lots of apps to help get you started, or free programs like the mindfulness groups at the YMCA.

Get moving

Finding ways to be active regularly can help ease stress, anxiety and depression. If weightlifting doesn’t float your boat that’s ok, the key is to start small. Go for a walk, bike ride around the seawall, or try something creative like Barre fitness. Before you know it, you might notice improvements in your mood and motivation along with the other perks of exercise. The Y offers a specialized exercise program called Jumpstep in partnership with the Mood Disorders Association of BC. This program takes a holistic approach to supporting mental health through the aid of experienced psychiatrists and group physical activity trainers.

Eat clean

Set yourself up for success by planning healthy meals with a balance of whole grain carbs, fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. A diet rich in sugary and refined foods can increase symptoms of anxiety and leave us feeling sluggish after time.

Sleep better

Sometimes getting out of bed is hard. Lack of sleep or irregular sleep patterns can make coping with stress even more difficult. Consider creating a sleep routine to help you wind down before bed. Try things like reading, drinking a warm decaffeinated beverage, or take a warm shower.

Be kind to yourself

Do you notice that critical voice in your head constantly bossing you around? Many of us listen to that critical, judgmental voice, and spend very little time showing ourselves love and compassion. Dr Kristen Neff’s website on self-compassion illustrates some ways to show yourself kindness, practice mindfulness, and remind yourself that you aren’t alone. Suffering is a part of our human experience.

For additional support, please check out these local community resources:

Three benefits of keeping your children active

Are you finding that the amount of time your kids spend at home watching television or staring at their cellphones is ever increasing? Although we all realize that too much screen time and sitting around is never a good thing, the extent to which constant inactivity negatively impacts a child’s well-being is not always that apparent. Here are three reasons why getting your child up and moving on a regular basis is crucial for their overall development.

Emotional health

Whether it’s enrolling your child in a sports program or spending quality time as a family going on hikes, ensuring your child is active on a consistent basis will have a positive effect on their mental health. Research has shown that the more exercise a child gets, not only will they be in a better mood but their working memory is also getting a much-needed boost. Working memory is a critical cognitive system and aids in the ability to retain and process information, focus in school, learn various subject areas (i.e. math, reading), and follow instructions.

Environmental awareness

Being active doesn’t always mean you have to work up a sweat. Just by having your child spend time outside and be surrounded by nature will allow them to gain environmental awareness, which among many things helps individuals create a connection with the natural world. If you’re struggling to think of outdoor activities for your child, there are summer camps that incorporate land- and water-based programming where participants have the opportunity to interact with environment. Once you see the benefits this added exposure to Mother Nature has on your child, finding more ways to keep them outdoors will become… well, second nature.

Healthy sleeping habits

The 2016 ParticipACTION Report Card asked the question: Are Canadian kids too tired to move? The short answer is, “yes.” According to the report, 33% of Canadian children aged five to 13 and 45% of youth aged 14 to 17 have trouble sleeping. Equally concerning, 36% of 14 to 17 year olds find it difficult to stay awake during the day. This lack of quality sleep can cause hyperactivity and a short attention span, as well as challenges with verbal creativity. One way to get these numbers trending in a more positive direction is to keep children moving. According to the 24-Hour Movement Guidelines, physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and sleep are all linked.

It’s time to get walking for a cause

After a long gloomy winter in Vancouver, it’s finally time to get outdoors and enjoy blue skies, explore nature, and be active with the whole family!

On Saturday, June 3, join us for a fun community event that raises funds and awareness about cardiovascular disease. The YMCA Walk of Life is an annual 1 km, 3 km and 5 km walk supporting the YMCA annual campaign and individuals living with cardiac risk, through access to the YMCA Healthy Heart program. This family event takes you through the public trails in beautiful Mundy Park in Coquitlam.

Before you get walking, make sure you are wearing appropriate footwear. 80% of people are wearing incorrect athletic shoes which puts them at a high risk of injury (HAWC stat, American study). Kintec has provided a list of appropriate performance and health-oriented footwear to ensure you’re properly laced up and ready to go.

  • New Balance 840
  • New Balance 928
  • Saucony Integrity
  • Asics Fortitude
  • Brooks Dyad
  • Hoka One One
  • …and much more

Footwear recommendations will vary between individuals. To get properly fitted, experts at Kintec will take you through a FREE specialized process to give your feet the personalized attention they deserve.

Kintec is the title sponsor of the YMCA Walk of Life event. Kintec specializes in keeping you active on your feet so you can do more of the things you love. Learn more about kintec.


Win a free one-year membership!

At the YMCA, we're always looking for ways to improve your experience. That's why each year we seek feedback from our members so we can serve you even better. Complete this five-minute survey for your chance to win a one-year membership!  


Once you have completed the survey you'll be directed to a draw entry page where you can enter to win the membership.

Forrre! Watch out for the seventh annual First Tee Million Dollar Hole-in-One Challenge on May 24!

The First Tee charity golf tournament pairs teams up with some of Canada’s top golf professionals to help raise funds for The First Tee of Greater Vancouver YMCA, supporting vulnerable kids in our communities. Through the game of golf, kids learn essential life skills and positive values while having a whole lot of fun. Let’s face it—kids learn best when they’re having fun! Whether it's learning to be honest while keeping score, perseverance when losing or good judgement while making a shot, lessons stick long after the program is over.

The 2017 fundraising goal is to raise $80,000 for The First Tee of Greater Vancouver YMCA programming, outreach, subsidies and expansion and we need your help. We are seeking like-minded individuals and corporations to get involved by volunteering at the tournament or through a donation or sponsorship.

Inspired to get involved or want to sign up a team? Hurry, only a few spots remain!